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Itinerary on China Eastern shows on multiple OTA, but not on their own site

Itinerary on China Eastern shows on multiple OTA, but not on their own site

Old Nov 4, 19, 1:23 pm
  #1  
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Itinerary on China Eastern shows on multiple OTA, but not on their own site

How trustworthy is this? I need a roundtrip flight on China Eastern from JFK to Colombo leaving in December and returning in May (more than 6 months from now). I'm not sure if the itinerary I wanted is showing up on more "common" booking sites like Expedia, Orbitz etc as I'm only looking at the first few cheapest options. The exact same itinerary is posted on Justfly, Cheapoair, Kiwi, etc at slightly different prices.

But when I search the China Eastern website, I only see the flight departing from JFK. I figured that perhaps the May return date is too far out for the website, so just to check, I searched a much earlier return date on the same day of the week. The cheaper flight I was seeing on the OTAs stopped in Kunming before Shanghai. But the only option showing up on the China Eastern website goes CMB-PVG-JFK at a different time than the Kunming flight. When I try searching for one-way flights from CMB to KMG on any day of the week, the website returns no results (and there doesn't seem to be a route map on the China Eastern website).

So...if multiple OTAs offer this itinerary, and the official China Eastern website is known to not be that great, can I safely book on an OTA or not? The price difference is several hundred dollars.

EDITED: Checked the Kunming airport site and the Skyteam timetable, I guess the flight does exist and oddly doesn't appear on the China Eastern website!

Last edited by skewedstyle; Nov 4, 19 at 3:55 pm
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Old Nov 5, 19, 7:54 am
  #2  
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Originally Posted by skewedstyle View Post
So...if multiple OTAs offer this itinerary, and the official China Eastern website is known to not be that great, can I safely book on an OTA or not? The price difference is several hundred dollars.
I don't have a specific answer to your question, but I almost never recommend booking any sort of flight on an OTA, because if something weird happens it is much, much easier to deal directly with the airline than it would be to deal with both the OTA and the airline (and most times in experiences we've seen posted here, neither one wants to be helpful in these sorts of situations).

If it were me, I would just wait until MU's website lets you book it and do it there, even if the price is higher.
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Old Nov 6, 19, 8:45 pm
  #3  
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Since DL is a close partner with MU, have you looked on the DL website? Have you tried calling DL and telling the agent the exact flights/dates/booking classes you want to see whether DL can ticket what you want? [DL doesn't charge phone booking fees.]
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Old Nov 8, 19, 1:56 pm
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Not sure here but OTAs often offer bulk fares that aren't available elsewhere. If it is a simple r/t that you are certain to take the risk is low.
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Old Nov 8, 19, 8:02 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by lo2e View Post
I don't have a specific answer to your question, but I almost never recommend booking any sort of flight on an OTA, because if something weird happens it is much, much easier to deal directly with the airline than it would be to deal with both the OTA and the airline (and most times in experiences we've seen posted here, neither one wants to be helpful in these sorts of situations).

If it were me, I would just wait until MU's website lets you book it and do it there, even if the price is higher.
I'm guessing that you haven't dealt with Chinese Eastern customer service.
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Old Nov 9, 19, 3:44 am
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While I prefer booking direct with the airline when I do use an OTA, I read their T&CS and read reviews. So when I book with an OTA I go in with eyes wide open.
Would suggest OP does the same.
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Old Nov 9, 19, 6:38 am
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Originally Posted by IntVic View Post
While I prefer booking direct with the airline when I do use an OTA, I read their T&CS and read reviews. So when I book with an OTA I go in with eyes wide open.
Would suggest OP does the same.
I completely agree with this advice. In my previous post, I failed to highlight how painful Chinese airline customer service is...one OTA (Ctrip) has a 50% market share. While dealing with Ctrip isn't a walk in the park, they are far nicer than China Eastern. Furthermore, whenever my China Eastern flights are delayed, they can often rebook me on Air China or China Southern.

Hotel groups (e.g. Hilton, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott) are a slightly different story here because they put much more effort into customer service than airlines (think about the economic incentives). That having been said, since Ctrip has pretty much run out of room to grow more, it has been prebuying blocks of hotel rooms, which it can sell for unbeatable rates...so, I usually at least check them out. Mind you, very few of these are western chains, but I'm okay with staying at places like the Cosmo in HK when it is less than half the price of a Courtyard.
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